As Christmas edges ever nearer, thoughts turn towards all the traditional tastes and smells associated with the Festive season – mince pies, mulled wine, roast meats, and spice.
This pudding is good at any time of the year but suits those dark winter nights when a change from seasonal treats is in order. It’s very easy and surprisingly un-calorific as it uses cocoa rather than chocolate pieces which is always good for the conscientious pudding fiend.
It’s NOT a health pudding though.
But it’s very good.
The recipe comes from an old National Trust collection of traditional English dishes and can easily be adapted for different numbers of scoffers – either bigger or smaller. This quantity roughly serves 4-5.
For the pudding:
- 110g butter
- 110g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 175g self-raising flour
- 2 level tablespoons cocoa
- A little milk if needed
For the sauce
- 300ml water
- 75g brown sugar
- 3 level tablespoons cocoa
Preheat your oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4.
Butter an ovenproof dish – roughly 10cm deep and about 20x23cm in diameter (exact shape isn’t too important but it does need the depth).
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy then beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour with each one. Sift the remaining flour and the cocoa together and fold in, adding a bit of milk if it gets too stiff. It needs to be spreadable so use your own judgement to get the right consistency – I found a tablespoon or so milk was fine but you might need a bit more. When it is ready, spread the mixture into the prepared dish.
For the sauce, gently heat the water, brown sugar, and cocoa in a pan until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture turns into a thinnish sauce. Pour this chocolatey joy over the pudding mixture then put in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, until the top is crisp and brown and you can see the sauce beginning to peep around the edges. The pudding will rise through the sauce, creating a rich, moist base with a nice crisp top and a sea of warming, chocolate goodness hiding underneath.
Serve immediately with a scoop of ice cream or whatever indulgent adornment you see fit…